1. We live for the big challenge.
And the bigger the better. Virgin America is a good example. Over the past four years Eleven has been helping the little startup airline elbow its way into markets long dominated by the likes of United, American, and other legacy carriers. Our newest work is raising awareness and growing business in tough-to-crack markets like Dallas and Chicago.
2. We play well with others.
Ad agencies are notoriously resistant when asked by clients to work with outside partners. Grouchy, even. But collaboration is at the core of Eleven’s culture. We get off on it. Last year, for instance, we teamed with Guthy-Renker’s in-house broadcast unit to create an integrated brand campaign for Proactiv skin care. The campaign featured Katy Perry, Avril Lavigne, and Justin Bieber, and was the first pure brand effort in 15 years for Proactiv.
3. We have a rule about clients.
Rules are the enemy of creativity, so we tend to avoid them. But there is one rule we won't budge on: Eleven only works with brands we admire. It's not out of arrogance, or even altruism. It's really just smart business–our reputation is only as good as the best work we create, and the best work we create has always been made for brands we genuinely admire. That’s why we love working with Apple, and every other brand you’ll find on our client roster.
4. We love a good story.
The more pervasive that marketing becomes in our culture, the better consumers are getting at tuning it out. But everyone loves a good story told well. Our job is to help brands find their own unique story, and tell it in irresistible ways. For Sun Valley, we discovered that what makes "The Original Mountain Town" so original are the people who live there—the real curators of the brand. Our film series helps the rest of us see Sun Valley as more than just another place with snow.
5. We're good listeners.
When you believe that good ideas can come from anywhere, you keep your ears open. And sometimes, your mouth shut. In a passionate sport like golf, we knew consumers have lots of opinions, both on the game and their equipment. So to help Callaway introduce its new drivers, we put golfers in control of the message through the industry’s first user-generated homepage takeover of a major media outlet.
6. We don’t play favorites.
Some agencies are all about the TV spot. Others gravitate to digital. Still others feel most at home with print. Us? We just want to be in the right place at the right time. We take a “media neutral” approach—we’ll go wherever it makes the most sense for our clients to be seen. For Virgin America, we collaborated with Project Magazine, Richard Branson’s new iPad-exclusive publication. The interactive ad puts the Virgin America experience into the hands of the flying public.
7. We're reductionists.
No matter how serious and complex a product is, we believe its story can be boiled down to simple human motivations. Our client NetApp makes world-class data storage solutions. But while companies need data storage, that’s not what they ultimately want. What they want is to be more innovative, more creative. So that’s the story we’re telling for NetApp through an utterly distinctive visual branding system and integrated campaign.
8. We never had to 'go digital.'
Eleven has been there in a big way since we opened our doors in 1999. Not just with banner ads, but also mobile and social media programs, search marketing, web videos, and full websites. For instance, the centerpiece of a major rebranding effort Eleven led for San Francisco Travel (formerly, the city’s Convention & Visitor’s Bureau) was a new site engineered to satisfy every need for domestic and international visitors.
9. We're optimists.
We like to think of ourselves as a "glass half-full" agency. So even when a brand is facing challenges that seem to be beyond its control, we love to prove otherwise. For instance, consumer indifference to Australian wines, combined with tough economic times, have eroded market share for Treasury Wine Estates. Our “You Don’t Know Oz” campaign aggressively expands Americans’ perceptions of Australia beyond koala bears, kangaroos and Crocodile Dundee.
10. We don’t feel confined in small spaces.
Eleven’s core philosophy is summed up in two words: Everything matters. The way people come to feel about a brand is shaped by all the different interactions they have with it. Not just through big-budget TV campaigns and Web takeovers, but also through more humble means—banner ads and bus panels, email and e-newsletters, postcards and package design. Everything matters to the consumer, so everything matters to us.
11. We’re (officially) nice.
Eleven has twice been picked by the San Francisco Business Times for its annual list of “Best Places to Work in the Bay Area.” We don’t mention this for the bragging rights, though. (That wouldn’t be very nice, would it?). We mention this because there’s a tangible, bottom line benefit to our clients in the unique type of culture Eleven has built—talented people want to work here, and the best tend to stay here.